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Coronavirus Updates

NLSD Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

September 2020 - 2 elementary cases, 1 case of a student that does not attend physically in any building

October 2020 - 3 HS level cases, 1 District level case, 3 elementary level cases, 1 MS level case,  1 case of a student that does not attend physically in any building

November 2020 (last updated on Nov 30) - 10 elementary level cases, 3 MS level cases, 12 HS cases, 1 District level case, 1 transportation employee

December 2020 - 10 MS cases, 9 HS cases, 4 elementary cases, 1 secondary level case, 3 District level cases

January 2021- 4 elementary cases, 4 secondary cases, 3 cases that do not attend any building physically

February 2021 - 8 secondary cases, 3 elementary

March 2021 (last updated March 29) - 9 secondary, 1 elementary

April 2021 (last updated April 23) - 8 secondary, 1 elementary

 

April 7, 2021

Dear NL Families,

Today marks the end of the third quarter for our secondary students.  As we have progressed throughout the school year, the School Board and I have been discussing and monitoring the instructional model for our students.  A few weeks ago, at the March School Board meeting, the Board and I held a conversation about ​the possibility of secondary students returning physically to school for more days each week during the fourth quarter.  A survey was sent out which confirmed that many families want their students to return more frequently.  This survey also clearly showed that some families wish to stay in the hybrid or virtual model and that we will need to continue to offer those options this year.   Now that we have determined that families continue to want options, we are now asking anyone ​who wishes to change their model of instruction to provide their child’s name and grade level for the final quarter of the year so we can get exact numbers requesting each model of instruction.  ​This information will allow us to determine how we can safely accommodate requests to return to school physically. Before ​completing the survey, please understand the following guidelines that the PA DOH has placed upon schools. 

  1. There are classes where we cannot achieve a 6 feet distance between students and we must continue to quarantine students that are within 6 feet of a positive case (we will also not achieve 6 feet on buses).
  2. We must close for 2-3 days if we reach a count of 6 cases in a rolling 14 day period. 

We share this information because there is additional risk of quarantining or closure as we increase the amount of students.  Having said that, I believe with all my heart that our students learn best when they are here at school. 

Please complete the following form if you are requesting a change in instructional model for your child.  https://forms.gle/Hdn7d63Jgx42Zit7A

This form MUST be completed by April 9 to allow us to quickly finalize a plan for the remainder of this year. 

As always, thank you for your support through this challenging time.  I am proud to be a part of this community.

With Viking Pride,

Gary Messinger

 

 

 

December 20, 2020

Good afternoon NL families,

I am writing to inform you that the MS/HS will remain virtual until the Holiday break.  It was my hope that our MS/HS students could return to our hybrid model for the upcoming week, but we continue to have positive cases and a high number of staff members that are quarantined making it extremely difficult to operationally continue.  HS/MS will be synchronous on Monday and Tuesday and asynchronous on Wednesday.   Elementary will continue face-to-face as there are currently very few positive cases at that level.   Remember that Wednesday is an early dismissal for all levels.

I do want to thank you for your support through this challenging first half of the school year.  It has been a struggle at times, but we have been able to provide a good deal of in-person instruction which I believe is very important for our students.   I hope that all of you have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I must admit that I am excited to see 2020 end and 2021 to begin.  
 
Take care everyone.  

Gary Messinger

December 14, 2020

Good Afternoon NL Families,

As you know, the PA DOH and PDE have provided schools guidelines for closure that we are now required to follow.  The guidelines state that when we reach a specific number of cases, schools buildings should close for contact tracing and cleaning.  Once those items are complete, schools may reopen and start at a count of 0.  Due to the number of cases the past week, we closed the secondary school and cleaned over the weekend satisfying the requirements of the guidelines to "reset" our count beginning today.  

Unfortunately, despite those efforts, we were notified of 2 cases on Saturday and 3 more this morning at the MS/HS level.  In addition, multiple staff members including administration are currently quarantining due to exposure both inside and outside of school.  The shortage of staff is going to require us to transition to online learning for all students in the Northern Lebanon High School and Middle School beginning Tuesday, December 15, 2020 through Thursday, December 17, 2020.  We will re-evaluate our circumstances on Thursday morning. 

In addition to following our COVID cases closely, it appears we may have a snow storm Wednesday into Thursday.  If weather warrants a school closure this week, we will close District-wide.  This means that all levels will close for the day.  We will NOT do a virtual day this week if we need to close for snow.  

Attendance for all students during this time continues to be mandatory.  Students will follow their regular bell schedule to attend their courses synchronously from home.   The Zoom links to join classes are found in each course’s Schoology folder.  CTC students are not to attend CTC physically, but will need to utilize the Zoom links for their classes during the temporary closure.  

Stay safe everyone,

Gary Messinger


 

December 4, 2020

Dear NL families,

Last week I informed you that the PA DOH and PDE had new guidance on masks, travel, and closure recommendations for residents of PA and school districts.  After consultation with our solicitor, there are several changes that will impact schools across the state that I want to make you aware of. It is important to understand that if school districts do not adhere to the items below, the DOH and PDE will force the entire school district to change completely to virtual instruction and no students will be allowed to attend face-to-face.  The changes that are most impactful are as follows:

  1. From a mask standpoint, the biggest change is that face shields are no longer allowed unless there is an exemption based on a disability or pre-existing medical condition.  Students that already have an exemption on file do not need to do anything.  Students that are wearing face shields purely because they prefer them will need to wear a mask or obtain a note from their doctor stating the reason for the medical exemption.  If you have a documented medical reason that you would like us to consider, please contact your school guidance counselor so that they may start the process of determining if we can grant an exemption.   We are allowing a transition period to allow for students to adjust to wearing a mask.  We will begin enforcing the order on December 9.  
  2. The new mask order also requires each school district to make sure that there is 6 feet of distancing when students are eating during school.  Prior to this order, we were more concerned about cohorts remaining together.  Now, we will be moving some students out of their cohort to other areas in order to obtain 6 feet distancing for everyone.  Our administrators have been walking class to class make sure that this is the case and making adjustments as needed.
  3. Finally, PDE has issued new requirements for schools about when they should close.  These requirements are based on the number of active cases in a building. The number of days of the closure will be dependent on how long it takes to contact trace and clean the building.  

We believe that face-to-face instruction is the best form of instruction for students and therefore want to do everything in our power to continue to provide that for them.  Our goal is to continue to provide safe, face-to-face instruction as permitted under the orders.  Agreeing to and abiding by these orders is the only way we can continue to do that.


Finally, as you know, whenever we are informed of a case, we send an email to the families in the affected building.  Obviously, as the County cases have gotten higher, our cases have also increased.  While we are committed to keeping the community informed about cases, we recognize that we are flooding your inbox with emails.  Therefore, beginning next week, we will send only one email per day when a positive case occurs and will not email on Saturday or Sunday.  If a positive case occurs after the email, it will be included in the email the following school day.  In addition, the website will continue to be updated daily.   If your child is impacted by the positive case, we will continue to notify you immediately.


Thank you again for your continued cooperation during this challenging time.  

Stay safe everyone,

Gary Messinger

November 24, 2020

Dear NL Families,

I wanted to take a few minutes and update you on a couple of items as we head into Thanksgiving break.  Yesterday, Governor Wolf and PDE worked together to develop an attestation form for school districts to sign.  This form states that we will be allowed to continue in-person instruction if we agree to follow their updated guidelines for school closures and the new mask order.  The guidelines give specific numbers of cases in buildings that would trigger a closure to contact trace and clean.  For instance, I am sure you have noticed the increase in cases at the secondary level over the past few days.  The number of  cases would have triggered a temporary closure had we not already been closed for Thanksgiving break.  Schools that do not sign these forms will be required to be completely virtual.

From a District standpoint, we continue to see positive cases.  Just today, we received word of another positive case.  The cases have been unrelated and so far no close contacts have become positive due to a case in school unless they live in the same household.  Fortunately, close contacts have been limited.  In over half of the cases there have been 1 or 0 close contacts.  Having said that, we recognize that it is a daily battle to think about social distancing and safe mask usage.  Thank you to our students for being conscientious about those safety measures.

Finally, I wanted to take the opportunity to express my thanks as we approach Thanksgiving.  I must admit that this is not the experience I thought I was taking on when I arrived at Northern Lebanon.  Having said that, I am grateful for the many well wishes from the community and that I can be a small part of Northern Lebanon.  Stay safe, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

With Viking Pride,

Gary Messinger


November 5, 2020

Hello NL Families,

I am pleased to announce that our High School and Middle School will be returning to our hybrid schedule on Monday, November 9th.  I am grateful to our families and staff for being flexible in this uncharted time.  We look forward to seeing our students return next week.

 

October 30, 2020

Good Evening NL Families,

I am reaching out this evening to inform you that we were made aware of two additional secondary building related positive COVID-19 cases today bringing our total current cases in the secondary school to four plus one additional District employee.  The individuals are currently isolating, and all individuals identified as having close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with them are being contacted with instructions to quarantine for 14 days.   I want to be clear that there is no school based transmission at this point.  Close contacts have been minimal and all cases reported are not related.  Having said that, we want to take a proactive approach and do our part to ensure that spread does not occur in our schools.  

Due to privacy requirements, we cannot release the names of the individuals nor any details that may identify them.  Following our approved Health and Safety Plan, we immediately consulted with the PA Department of Health.  Based on the increased number of positive cases, the PA Department of Health and the PA Department of Education recommend a temporary school closure for a period of 5 to 7 days. 

After conducting our own internal investigation and consulting with  the Department of Health, we will transition to online learning for all students in the Northern Lebanon High School and Middle School beginning Monday, November 2, 2020 through Friday, November 6, 2020.  

Attendance for all students during this time continues to be mandatory.  Students will follow their regular bell schedule to attend their courses synchronously from home.    The Zoom links to join classes are found in each course’s Schoology folder.  CTC students are not to attend CTC physically, but will need to utilize the Zoom links for their classes during the temporary closure.  Student-athletes who are quarantined may not practice or participate in games.  However, scheduled competitions will continue.  Student-athletes are reminded to monitor their health and should report any symptoms to school officials.

Please do not become complacent in your diligence toward COVID-19 as we must continue to follow the mitigation guidelines which include:·         

  • Frequent hand washing or using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available;
  • Consistent wearing of face coverings;
  • Maintain social distancing;
  • Avoid large gatherings, especially those where participants are not socially distanced and not wearing face coverings;
  • Conduct a daily symptom screening and remain home if multiple COVID-19 symptoms are evident.

The District will continue to carefully monitor the data daily that we are receiving from the Department of Health, PA Department of Education, as well as our local community data and will continue to make decisions with the health and safety of our school community at the forefront.  We will send an update no later than Thursday, November 5th.  Thank you.

Gary Messinger

September 2020

Dear NL Families,

When school opened this fall, there was a realization that at some point a positive case of COVID-19 would be a reality.  As the year progresses, we will provide information on our website about the cases that are confirmed.  When a confirmed case occurs, communication will be made to all close contacts about the need to quarantine, a communication will be sent out to families in the building that has the positive case, and the District will update this page on the website.  No communication about the individual will be released. 

April 9, 2020

Dear Northern Lebanon Families,

I hope this message finds you well. As you are aware, last week, we began engaging students in online learning.  Most of our students logged on to Schoology or SeeSaw and had opportunities to connect with their teachers.  While this has certainly been a new experience for everyone, I am proud of the resilience of our students, teachers, and staff these past two weeks.  

Now that Governor Wolf has extended the school closure until the end of the year, we have made preparations to educate our students virtually for the fourth quarter.  Beginning Tuesday, April 14, teachers will be increasing their time with students and begin grading assignments.  Specific information on grading, schedules, and more will be sent out by administrators later today.  Also, the website is being updated with details for both secondary and elementary levels which will remain on the website for your reference as long as schools are closed. 

At this time, we have been able to connect with over 90% of our students and we are currently working to reach the remaining ones.  The technology team continues to work to provide devices and resolve technical issues for families.  If you are having these difficulties, please use the parent portal to report problems when they arise (https://sites.google.com/norleb.k12.pa.us/tech4parents/home).

The instruction for the remainder of the year will focus on the remaining skills that are deemed most important by teachers.  Students will be graded, but we believe we have adopted a grading system that will provide feedback while being fair to students.  One question that I am sure many students have is about next year.  I am happy to communicate to you that as long as a student was on pace to progress to the next grade-level when schools were closed, he/she will continue on that path.  For students that were not passing at the time school closed, this opportunity may enable you to correct that.

Finally, we fully understand that some students may put be putting in a great deal of effort and there could be other obstacles that are preventing them from a successful online learning experience.  We want to be flexible in situations where asking students to engage in online learning is too much.  If that is the case, please reach out to your building principal.  

Thank you for your continued involvement with your child's education.  I look forward to the time when I see students and staff in hallways rather than virtually.  Until then, stay safe.  

With Viking Pride,

Gary Messinger
Superintendent
 
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